There are many ways to skin a cat or so the saying goes. One has to take that philosophy with them even to approach this music with an open mind and ear. It's Bach or is it? After all, Busoni took Bach's organ music and bent it in an entirely new way for the modern piano. Busoni had an impressive reputation as a player and it seems he considered this music a living entity that could change and morph into something new at each sitting. So if you are a staunch Bach traditionalist, this is going to rattle your world right from the beginning. Busoni changes aren't limited to accoustic characteristics of the piano vs. the organ either, he also adds notes, puts two different compositions together as one work, completes unfinished pieces and embellishes the music to match his unique vision.
Taking this idea of multiple possibilites with Bach's music and applying it to interpreting Busoni's transcriptions reveals another layer of possibility. Bach's music is so great that it can weather multiple interpretations without any harm. There are other excellent versions of some of these transcriptions but that doesn't render any of them "better" or "superior". Demidenko's vision is a muscular Bach yet it also is a deeply poetic Bach. His vision is more towards the long term architecture of Bach's vision. There are multiple ways of phrasing and presenting these rich, dense journeys of polyphony and Demidenko's is marvelously satisfying.
Bach is like a living language. Busoni showed it can endure the changes and trends in music and his romantic vision of it proved successful and valid. The modern piano makes possible even greater revelations and the results are compelling here. Demidenko comments that the Fazioli piano used on this recording has the ability to sustain the treble range beyond any other piano. He felt this allowed him to tailor his playing to this capability and in the process, reveal new ways of expressing the music. The result is more living Bach, a new vision and unique presentation of perhaps the greatest musical composer in the history of man. The CD ends appropriately with the Chaconne from the solo violin partita #2 in d minor, perhaps the greatest cry from the heart ever made in music.
This is a fantastic CD and anyone who loves Bach and understands the potential of his music to continue to evolve will garner great pleasure from it. 5 stars all the way around.